The Song of Hiawatha

The Song of Hiawatha is a feature-length documentary film project about Hiawatha Bailey, a gay political activist and musician of African-American and Native–American (Creek) ancestry who is among the first black hippies and black punk rockers. The second of twelve children born to a family in Georgia and transplanted to Detroit in the 1950s to escape Jim Crow and to live in “Motown,” Hiawatha was part of the “great migration” of African-Americans moving to northern cities. In 1965, he took his first hit of LSD, joined a commune, and never looked back….until now.

This is the story of the American rocknroll counterculture from 1965 to the present as lived though Hiawatha’s fifty year odyssey from the South to the New Left to prison to his rebirth as a Cult Hero and beyond.

Film is in post-production. It is being edited by Sam and Jason Pollard. Cast includes: Hiawatha Bailey, Clinton Bailey, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Wayne Kramer, John Sinclair, Niagara Detroit, John Brannon, Lawrence Livermore, Pun Plamondon, Professor Judson Jeffries, and many more !

  • Jeffrey Wengrofsky
    The Party in Taylor Mead's Kitchen, Here to Eternity with The Godz
  • Jeffrey Wengrofsky
  • Jeffrey Wengrofsky
  • Hiawatha Bailey
    Key Cast
  • Sam Pollard
    Jungle Fever, Four Little Girls, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, etc.
  • Jason Pollard
    Burn, Motherfucker Burn!
  • David Kavanaugh
    Beasts of the Southern Wild, Medittereanea, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Mea Culpa Maxima
  • Geoff George
    Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    2 hours
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    40,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital and 35mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jeffrey Wengrofsky

Jeffrey Wengrofsky came to documentary after teaching history and politics at New York University, The New School, and Rutgers University, and serving on the staffs of Aperture Photography Magazine, Coilhouse Magazine, and Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory. His films have been selected by DOC NYC, Boston LGBT Film Fesival, Berkeley Video and Film Festival, Stranger Than Fiction (IFC Center, NYC), Framestore Preview Theater (London, UK), HOWL! Happening (NYC), Lexington Film League (KY), Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn), The Lookout! (Washington, DC), Beacon Independent Film Festival, New Filmmakers New York (Anthology Film Archives), etc.

Wengrofsky is a contributing writer for Trebuchet Magazine (UK) and Cold Lips Magazine (UK), and also curates the Secrets Film Festivals. The Secrets Film Festivals, now in their sixth year, screen annually at the Gene Frankel Theater in NYC, Film Noir Cinema in Brooklyn, and at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival in Berkeley, CA. This year's festival is Secrets of Inner Space.

Wengrofsky has been on the trail of Hiawatha since 2011. The Song of Hiawatha will be his first feature film.

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Director Statement

Wengrofsky tries to create a field of tension that begs questions and conjures thought.